Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

William Clark Falkner (1825-1889)

Born on July 6, 1825 in Knox County, Tennessee, Falkner served in the Mexican War. When the Civil War began, Falkner raised a company of men and was made colonel in the Second Mississippi Infantry. Wounded at First Manassas, he was dropped at the April 1862 reorganization and election of officers. Later in the War, he raised a company of Mississippi cavalry.

Falkner was an author of poetry and novels. His most famous work was a novel, The White Rose of Memphis.

After the War, Falkner was prominent in Mississippi Reconstruction; he founded the Ship Island, Ripley, and Kentucky Railroad Company and a community that bears his name. In 1889 he was elected to the Mississippi legislature. On November 5, he was shot by a former business partner. He died the following day.

Falkner was the great-grandfather of author William Faulkner. Faulkner based his character Colonel John Sartoris upon him. At some point the family name was altered from Falkner to Faulkner.

Selected Bibliography

The White Rose of Memphis (fiction), (1881)

Selected Links

William Clark Falkner’s biography at the Mississippi Writers Page: